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‘Star’ bands prep for show

Darren John conducts, instructs and brings the Dougherty All County Honor Band alive during Saturday’s practice session at Darton College’s auditorium.

Darren John conducts, instructs and brings the Dougherty All County Honor Band alive during Saturday’s practice session at Darton College’s auditorium.

ALBANY — Talk about pressure. A bunch of student musicians auditioned in November and became bands Friday and Saturday.

Students from county high schools comprised the Dougherty All County Honor Band and younger students became the Dougherty All County Middle School Honor Band. They both played Saturday night at Darton College.

“These are the best musicians from the schools,” said Trevor Baxter, Albany High School band director. “It gives all the musicians a chance to sit down and play good music for an audience.”

Counting both practice days, the students put in 12 hours learning to play together as a band. Judging from the music during their last Saturday session, they played very well.

One piece the high school students played, “Novo Lenio,” by Samual Hazo takes the listener through three movements based on the destruction of an old high school. During the musical representation, a high school is torn down, construction of a new one begins and at last there is a “Novo Lenio,” Latin for “a new and better change.”

At practice Saturday afternoon, Darren John, formerly of Dougherty High School, put the high school musicians through their paces. Like a combination of classical maestro and rock ’n’ roller, he beat a cowbell to set the tempo for the pulse he wanted during the song.

The band seemed to reply, “You want horns? You want strong horns? Listen to this.”

The middle school band practiced in a different room at the Darton College music department, while the high school band practiced in the auditorium.

The smaller room the middle school students used did not dampen their enthusiasm. Their director William Majors of Thomas County Middle School, said they had an offbeat piece to play that would be fun.

“ ‘Junk Funk,’ it is a big percussion piece,” Majors said. “The percussion players use a 30-gallon garbage can, five gallon-paint buckets and a metal trash can lid for a cymbal.”

Take that “Blue Man Group.”